Reheating leftover taco meat is an easy way to create a quick meal. With a few simple steps, you can reheat taco meat safely and keep it tasting fresh.
Should You Refrigerate Leftover Taco Meat?
Yes, you should refrigerate any leftover taco meat within 2 hours of cooking. Taco meat contains perishable ingredients like ground beef, chicken, or pork. Refrigerating it prevents bacteria growth.
Place leftover taco meat in a sealed container or resealable plastic bag. Store it in the fridge for 3-4 days maximum.
Reheating Taco Meat on the Stovetop
The stovetop allows you to reheat taco meat quickly while adding extra flavor.
- Place the leftover taco meat in a skillet over medium heat. Break up any large chunks with a wooden spoon as it heats.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to prevent sticking. Stir frequently.
- Add extra seasonings like chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, or salsa to boost the flavor.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes until heated through, steaming hot, and safe to eat.
Reheating Taco Meat in the Microwave
The microwave provides a fast, convenient way to reheat taco meat.
- Place the taco meat in a microwave-safe dish. Break up any large clumps.
- Cover the dish with a paper towel or lid to prevent splattering.
- Microwave on High for 60-90 seconds. Stir and microwave in 30 second intervals until steaming hot.
- Optional: Stir in a tablespoon of water before heating to add moisture.
Taco Meat Food Safety Tips
- Only reheat taco meat once. Don’t keep reheating leftovers.
- Never reheat taco meat at room temperature or on the counter.
- Check that the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Use a food thermometer to verify.
- Discard any taco meat that smells bad or looks off after reheating.
Extra Reheating Tips
- Shred any large chunks of taco meat with two forks to help it reheat faster.
- Add a splash of vegetable or olive oil to the skillet when reheating on the stovetop. This prevents sticking.
- Stir in a spoonful of taco sauce or salsa to add extra moisture and flavor.
- Garnish reheated taco meat with fresh cilantro, diced onions, lime juice, or queso fresco.
1. How long does cooked taco meat last in the fridge?
Leftover cooked taco meat will last 3-4 days in the fridge when stored properly in an airtight container. Discard any taco meat that is older than 4 days.
2. Can you freeze and reheat taco meat?
Yes, freeze leftover taco meat for 2-3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating on the stove or microwave. Add a little broth or water when reheating to prevent dryness.
3. What’s the best way to reheat taco meat for tacos?
For tacos, reheat taco meat on the stovetop with a splash of oil. This keeps the texture crispy. Add extra spices to boost the flavor. Or reheat in the microwave, then crisp it up in a hot skillet for 1-2 mins.
4. What type of meat is best for tacos?
Ground beef, turkey, chicken, and pork all make excellent taco meat. Go for 90% lean ground beef or ground turkey for a healthier option. Season the meat with a taco seasoning mix or individual spices.
5. How can you keep taco shells from getting soggy?
Pre-heat taco shells in the oven at 350°F for 5-10 mins to crisp them up. Or wrap them in foil and heat briefly before serving. Fill them just before eating so they don’t sit and absorb moisture.
6. How long can you store taco sauce?
Unopened taco sauce lasts 2-3 years in the pantry. After opening, it will last 4-6 weeks in the fridge. Look for any mold development before using.
Easy Taco Meat Recipes
1. Chicken Taco Meat
Ingredients: Chicken breast, taco seasoning, onion, garlic, cilantro.
Instructions: Cook diced chicken with onions, garlic, and seasoning. Shred chicken and mix in cilantro.
2. Ground Beef and Bean Taco Meat
Ingredients: Ground beef, kidney beans, taco seasoning, tomato sauce.
Instructions: Brown ground beef with seasoning. Mix in rinsed kidney beans and tomato sauce.
3. Spicy Pork Taco Meat
Ingredients: Pork shoulder, chili powder, cumin, oregano, jalapeno, tomato paste.
Instructions: Cook pork with spices and diced jalapeno. Shred pork and mix in tomato paste.